VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — 20 people are displaced after a Virginia Beach apartment complex caught fire Thursday afternoon.
The fire took place in the 1600 block of Hiawatha Drive. That's the Indian Lakes Apartment complex near the Acredale area.
Eric Brann said a frantic warning from a neighbor saved him valuable time on Thursday.
“He ended up banging on the door, very panicked voice,” Brann said. “He was like, 'Hey there is a fire, you have to get your stuff, get out of here.'"
When Brann looked outside his front door at Indian Lakes Apartments, he said he saw flames.
“I immediately went inside, grabbed my dog, tried to get a few things out of my house, but we already had fire trucks rolling in,” Brann said.
Virginia Beach Fire Department officials said the fire started after someone failed to properly throw out their smoking materials.
16 apartments are damaged and four of the units are a total loss. Brann is thankful for Virginia Beach firefighters.
“They were on it, they took care of business,” Brann said.
This is the third fire at this complex since 2020. Madelyn Filio and Robert Gay said the scene looks all too familiar.
The couple's apartment caught fire in 2020, and they said they lost most of their belongings.
“Luckily, we had a clean basket of clothes and that was really it,” said Filio. “Everything else was gone, whether it was fire, smoke, water.”
Allison Hodgkins said she lost her home in that same December blaze. Now, she said she can’t believe there is a third fire to add to the list.
“I just started sobbing, I just feel so horrible for all the people going through it,” Hodgkins said. “It took a year plus to recover, so I can’t imagine how these people feel right now.”
13News Now reached out to management at Indian Lakes Apartments, but a staff member had no comment.